Table General data


The components of the M249 machine gun and their purposes are described in Table 1-2 and shown Figure 1-2. The item numbers in Table 1-2 correspond to the callout numbers in Figure 1-2. The sights and safety button are shown in Figures 1-3 and 1-4. (See Table 1-1 for general data.)





Barrel assembly

Houses cartridges for firing, directs projectile, and supports the gas regulator.


Heat shield assembly

Provides protection for the gunner's hand from a hot barrel.


Rear sight assembly

Adjusts for both windage and elevation.


Cover and feed mechanism assembly

Feeds linked belt ammunition, and positions and holds cartridges in position for stripping, feeding, and chambering.


Feed tray assembly

Positions belted ammunition for firing.


Cocking handle assembly

Pulls the moving parts rearward. Moves in a guide rail fixed to the right side of the receiver.


Buttstock and buffer assembly

Contains a folding buttplate. Serves as a shoulder support for aiming and firing M249. Contains a folding shoulder rest and a hydraulic buffer to absorb the recoil.


Bolt assembly

Provides feeding, stripping, chambering, firing, and extraction, using the projectile gases for power.


Slide assembly

Houses firing pin and roller assembly.


Return rod and transfer mechanism assembly

Absorbs recoil for bolt and operating rod assembly at the end of recoil movement.


Receiver assembly

Serves as a support for all major components and houses action of weapon. Through a series of cam ways, controls functioning of weapon.


Trigger mechanism

Controls the firing of the weapon. Provides storage area for lubricant in grip portion.


Handguard assembly

Provides thermal insulation to protect the gunner's hand from heat or extreme cold and houses the cleaning equipment.


Sling and snap hook assembly

Provides a means of carrying the weapon.



Supports the M249 machine gun in the prone position. The telescopic legs can be individually adjusted to three different lengths.

Table 1-2. Components and purposes.





Gas cylinder assembly

Locks bipod in place and provides passageway for gases.


Piston assembly

Holds the bolt and slide assemblies and houses the return spring.


Return spring

Returns bolt, slide, and piston assemblies to locked position during counterrecoil cycle.


Tripod (M122) (Not shown)

The tripod and T&E mechanism, with pintle, provides a stable mount and permits a higher degree of accuracy and control.


M145 straight telescope (Not shown)

Machine gun optic (MGO) provides target acquisition and identification at greater ranges.

Table 1-2. Components and purposes (continued).

Table 1-2. Components and purposes (continued).


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